SBIR Phase I: An Environmentally Sustainable Approach to PVC-Free Flooring

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Interfacial Solutions LLC
949 Antler Court
River Falls, WI 54022
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Phase I project proposes to develop technology and products that will eliminate the use of polyvinylchloride (PVC) in one of its largest volume uses, flooring materials. Interfacial Solutions has recently demonstrated that a high volume low cost plastic waste stream can be converted into a valuable flooring sheet product by using innovative material compounding and novel continuous sheet processing techniques. The high volume low cost plastic waste stream comprises polyolefins that have been reclaimed from waste streams typically having little value and usually discarded to landfills. Innovations to effectively homogenize the variability in the waste stream and remove contaminants have been developed to create a plastic compound that can be converted into flooring sheet materials and potentially useful as a replacement to PVC in the flooring market. A novel process to continuously create sheet materials has also been determined. To complete the development of this technology and disrupt incumbent products, the new technology needs to be advanced to improve the adhesive bonding between layers in the flooring construction, engineer flame retardant properties to meet industry specifications, and demonstrate a cost effective process with the durability and performance of current products. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the removal of PVC from flooring products and the conversion of a significant plastic waste steam into useful products. The waste stream being utilized is largely scrapped into landfills today. From an environmental and health risk standpoint, PVC is problematic. Worldwide, government agencies and NGOs are seeking alternatives for PVC replacement. Furthermore, PVC cannot be easily recycled, and therefore a significant source of waste once it has reached a products? end of life, also with significant health and environmental consequences during disposal due to its propensity to liberate dioxins. By developing this new technology to convert a low cost plastic waste stream into composite materials with properties comparable or exceeding PVC, an opportunity exists to remove some 2 billion square meters of PVC flooring per year. The technology platform developed by this proposal can also be of utility in replacing chemically treated plywood used in outdoor signage, marine plywood and concrete forms.